5 signs someone is WATCHING you and tracking your phone without your knowledge!
Is someone tracking your phone right without you knowing? I don’t mean by the government, but could your ex, your significant other, or a rouge app be spying on your messages, listening to your conversations, and tracking your location right now?
Before you confidently say “no ways!”, let me ask you: how do you know?
How do you know for an absolute fact that this isn’t happening on your phone? The truth is that you don’t.
There are many spy apps that are just a quick Google search away from being bought and can be installed and you wouldn’t even know it. So let me show you a couple of signs, that may indicate that your phone is being tracked without your consent!
Two Phone Tracking Situations
Tracking your phone appears in two scenarios:
- You track your own phone.
- Someone tracks your phone.
Obviously, these are vastly different situations with very different outcomes so let’s look at both situations:
Situation 1: How to track YOUR OWN Android and iOS phones?
Both Android and iOS devices have this facility and they both work in roughly the same way.
On Apple, you enable the Find My iPhone and then if you need to trace your phone, head over iCloud.com/find or use the Find My app on another Apple device.
On Android, enable the Find My Device option. To track your own phone, head to either Android.com/find or just search find my device in google.
Both operating systems allow you to locate your phone on a map, lock the phone, play a sound on the phone (and yes that works even if your phone is set to silent), and also remotely erase the phone if there is no hope of getting it back. Of course, the phone needs to be on with an internet connection for this to work. If the phone is off, you will be able to get the last known location.
Important to note that when you track your device, you will see a notification on the device showing that Find My Device located this device. In other words, it is not hiding the fact that the phone is being traced.
Situation 2: How to tell if someone is tracking your phone without your knowledge?
There are many spy apps in the store that allow tracking for “safety reasons” and these will not show any indication that the phone is being tracked. Some people use these apps to ensure their kids arrived at their destination safely or keep an eye on their elderly parents so they don’t wander off their property etc. These apps are installed with consent.
However, some apps that can be bought, some not via the official app store, and these can be installed without your knowledge. They are not only constantly tracking your location, but can record your conversation, log your keystrokes, discover your banking info, and send copies of your text messages, photos, and videos. All this secretly.
These apps aren’t names something obvious like “phone tracker” but rather something that blends with the phone and makes it seem like its part of the operating system such as “System UI Advance.”
How can you tell if your phone has one of these Spy apps installed?
There are a couple of signs to look out for:
- Increase in data usage. Spy apps typically upload the info to a web server so the person who is doing the spying can log in and see your info. Therefore you should be able to see a higher than normal data usage. Check your data usage on your phone which should also show which apps are the data hogs. If you see a “calculator app” near the top of that list, that is a BIG red flag!
- Battery Drain. As these spy apps are constantly running, it means they drain your phone’s battery. If your phone used to consistently last for 6 hours before needing to be charged and now lasts 3 ….be suspicious.
- Hot Phone. Because the spy apps are constantly using your battery, the back of the phone will feel warmer than normal. This is something that happens when we use our phones for a prolonged period of time like watching a movie or playing a game. This is normal. However, if your phone is on your desk with the screen off and its getting hotter, it may be a sign of a problem.
- Screen Activity. When your phone is in standby mode, the screen usually fades to black and shows the clock and weather. Be suspicious if your phone’s screen lights up without you touching it or being near it. If the spy app is running it may be active when the screen is off but its activity “wakes up” the phone.
- Screenshots and Recordings. Check your phone’s gallery, especially the screenshots folder. If you notice screenshots of your own pics or your messages, then that’s a clear indicator that something is installed on your phone. Also, check your voice notes and look for recording that you didn’t make on your phone.
How can you clean your phone if you suspect a spy app on the device?
There are several steps you can take to clean your phone of spyware and tracking apps:
- You can and should install an anti-virus program. Most computer anti-virus providers have a mobile app version of their software. Yes. Even Apple devices too. While Apple is typically more secure than Android it is not invincible. Install the anti-virus app!
- Backup your phone and then reset back to factory defaults. When you set up your phone again, don’t just blindly install every app you had before. Go through each one and make sure you recognize it. If you don’t, don’t install it. If it is a critical part of the system, the phone will make sure that it has what it needs.
- Some spy apps are disguised as regular apps like a calculator or even a clone app like Instagram. It will have the same name, and the same icon too. Make sure when you reinstall your apps to look at the app info which shows the company that created the app. All the usual-must-have apps will be developed by their main company like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Netflix etc.
- Make sure your phone is updated to the latest operating system. Both Apple and Google have updated their system that will prompt the user for permission to use sensitive info such as location.
- Change your passwords and don’t recycle the same password on all your apps and systems. Check your bank account and cell phone account to make sure you aren’t being billed a monthly recurring charge for services you didn’t sign up for.
- Be more suspicious about the apps you install. Install them only from the official Apps store and don’t just say YES to the permission it needs. Maps need access to your location, but a rock-paper-scissors game doesn’t.
Now that you secured your phone, read this next: How to secure your WiFi with these 7 simple steps you must do right now